GA-REI : ZERO
studio : AIC Spirits, asread
director : Ei Aoki
serial run : October 5, 2008 - December 21, 2008
total episodes : 12
score : *****
STEP ASIDE MAKINA, YOMI'S HERE TO STAY
anyway, ga-rei : zero is a 'two-thumbs-up-absolute-win' supernatural action series which primarily serve as the dramatic prequel to the ongoing manga series of the same franchise / genre - the enchained spiritual beast ga-rei - by hajime segawa; and though the anime adaptation were initially hinted to be made of completely original characters and story [ independent of the manga ] it actually tells forth events that predates the current timeline of the manga as well as thoroughly elaborates on the tragic backstory of yomi isayama of who, within the first three volumes of the tankobon served as the manga's main antagonist for the 'yomi arc'.
the series opens magnificently with the fast-paced introduction of the 4th division-whatever [ them peeps in the orange suits ] which completely fools the audience into believing / accepting them as the main cast of the so-called-alternate-story, especially with flashy displays of all those adrenaline-packed action sequences [ natsuki's bike-fu = srs'ly awsm ] before the so-assumed specialized / ace team were soon being mailed to hades 'guro-legantly' by none other than yomi herself. what a groundbreaking twist for the very first episode i must say. two episodes later and we were finally enlightened with the revelation of ga-rei : zero being a prequel to what we have read in the manga.
the story is way much darker than those found in the manga with more depth were being explored from the characters of kagura and yomi respectively; and among the many strength of the anime is the prized chemistry shared between the two 'sisters' especially prior to yomi's corruption to sesshōseki and moments when she addressed her true will to the stone [ to completely remove anything that would bring sadness, tragedy and misfortune upon kagura... including herself ] and accepted her death at the blade of her beloved sister kagura. thanks to her magnificent role [ as a tragic heroine ] in the story, yomi's character completely won my heart and thus when she was forced to the brink of despair and were finally deceived by the fukken brat mitogawa i almost had myself drown in tears.
i can pretty much tell that the character design were done by the same artist who did bakuretsu tenshi and full metal panic : the second raid, most noticably from the way the eyes and mouth were drawn... +not to mention the first frame of the ending animation mirrors the one seen in the second raid; a direct nod to the said series maybe :3
overall, ga-rei : zero shoves forth superb production quality from the magnificent art direction, cinematography / animation down to the musical score heard in the background. the entirety of its action sequences were superbly executed and choreographed [ wheelchair-fu anyone ? ] followed by strong, comprehensive story and emotionally engaging drama. the plot also provides enough substance and space for the characters and story to grow and breathes in organically and personally i find it to be much more appealing than the manga it was based from. also, there's the adequate balance between the darker, serious plot and the lighter, heartwarming comedies to complete the magic of the story, so if you're a fan of serious animes like darker than black, mnemosyne -mnemosyne no musume tachi- etc then i megassa believe that this one indeed is the best choice for you to greatly consider upon^^
p/s : +100 on the sisterly yuri + pocky-ss >///>